I come to you, just finishing Aliya Whiteley‘s The Beauty. My version is sitting here next to me, marked up with a red pen, a coffee stain running through the bottom of most pages. My version includes an additional short story, Peace, Pipe, but before I dive into it, I must tell you about The Beauty.

This beast of Horror Literature, filled with inspiration and tragedy, is guaranteed to keep locked in my mind for moths to come. When it starts to fade, it will be time for a re-read. Having read this piece, I am reminded at just how powerful a single story can be. Oh, and Body Horror fans…read on.

What’s ‘The Beauty’ by Aliya Whiteley About?

We follow a group of men as they try to navigate a world without women, through the eyes of the group storyteller. Their lives seeming so ordered, until change occurs, cracking through the opaque lens these men view the world from. Each of the men’s lives are ransacked, torn to bits. Their lives depending on the willingness to adapt.

So many questions are evaluated in this piece. From social concerns to natural human behavior, and on to horrific inevitability. Not only is it well written, but Whiteley executes a clear vision with both grace and abruption. In one sentence you’ll find something with breathtaking inspiration, just to have a follow up sentence showing you the tragedy of your inspiration. Very humbling, this read.

“I have very little power over the story. It must come out as it does. I have been unfaithful to my gift by suggesting that it is under my control. If it can be controlled by me, then I can be controlled by others.” — Page 55

(Whiteley, 2018, p. 55)

Why Read ‘The Beauty’ by Aliya Whiteley?

Whiteley has a way, she knows how to work her Horror, pulling at the audience in all the right places. Raising dread one page, reminding us of what friendship means on the next. The Body Horror, LET ME TELL YOU! One scene specifically stands out, a vivid nightmare. While reading this scene, my face unconsciously twisted, my child asking me if I’m okay. HA! That takes talent, I’ve seen and read a lot of disturbing stuff. This piece stands out.

And the whole time she displays a smooth cadence, keeping me reading through the parts I didn’t want to keep reading but HAD to. Whiteley tells an urgent message, and people who are like me; people who are broken, but want to keep holding onto life, the people who’ve been told to ‘Shut up and sit down.” in our world. To the people looking to grow, nurture the ability to change who you are, look no further-for now.

“…protect us from what could be terrible and beautiful and all the things in between, the things that live on and live on.”

(Whiteley, 2018, p. 57)

So, What Do We Rate ‘The Beauty’?

As much as I don’t want to rate this story, this piece of art, I must. Before I give my rating, I have to tell you that I am not finished with this piece. I am excited about my next re-read, confident I will gain more insight. The beginning did take me a minute to really get into the story, making it slightly inaccessible, the phenomenal writing carrying me through that time.

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Reading this piece and other masterful pieces reminds me of how much I still have to learn about the art of storytelling. My urge to tell stories is urgent. I must stay humble. For now, while time passes until the next re-read, The Beauty will sit on display in my kitchen, for my family and company to see every day.

I am EXTREMELY interested in your thoughts on this piece. What should I read next??! I am on the lookout for authors like Aliya Whiteley, Horror appreciators and literary style. Let me know in the comments below!

I like to review Horror books. See my Spoiler-Free thoughts on Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

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